Extrinsic Noise and Heavy-Tailed Laws in Gene Expression
Lucy Ham, Rowan Brackston, Michael PH Stumpf
PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS | AMER PHYSICAL SOC | Published : 2020
Noise in gene expression is one of the hallmarks of life at the molecular scale. Here we derive analytical solutions to a set of models describing the molecular mechanisms underlying transcription of DNA into RNA. Our ansatz allows us to incorporate the effects of extrinsic noise-encompassing factors external to the transcription of the individual gene-and discuss the ramifications for heterogeneity in gene product abundance that has been widely observed in single cell data. Crucially, we are able to show that heavy-tailed distributions of RNA copy numbers cannot result from the intrinsic stochasticity in gene expression alone, but must instead reflect extrinsic sources of variability.
Awarded by BBSRC
We thank Ido Golding for sharing experimental data. L. H. and M. P. H. S. gratefully acknowledge funding from the University of Melbourne DVCR fund; R. D. B. and M. P. H. S. are funded from the BBSRC through Grant No. BB/N003608/1.